How to Impress Customers with these Useful Retail Customer Service Tips
Excellent customer service is something that everybody expects, no matter where they go. Whether it’s a national chain department store or a small town boutique, the staff needs to provide fantastic customer service to keep shoppers coming back. If customers are satisfied with their overall shopping experience, it will lay the groundwork for building loyal customers.
Dedicating time and effort to training your staff in the best customer service practices ensures that your store’s reputation stays pristine. We created a list of retail customer service tips that will get employees on the right track to giving customers the best possible service.
Hire the Right People
Hiring the right person is one of, if not the most critical step in providing excellent customer service. If you can’t decide between two candidates:
A) one that has retail experience but lacks genuineness or
B) one who lacks experience, but has a positive attitude and is inherently friendly
Choose option B 100 percent of the time. In the long run, it’s easier to hire people with a genuinely good attitude and train them on the skillset than it is to adjust someone’s poor demeanor.
Besides, customers can spot a fake smile from a mile away. They’ll be able to sense if an employee wants to truly help them or if they’re only doing it for the paycheck.
Promote the Use of Positive Speech and Body Language
Reading body language and recognizing the importance of positive speech (and implementing it into employee training) is crucial to gaining customer satisfaction.
Here are some of the best ways to ensure your customers feel comfortable and satisfied:
- Always use good eye contact.
- If customers need help finding something, walk with them to show them exactly where the item is.
- Answer the phone promptly and nicely. The best way to do this is to answer within two rings of the phone.
- Smile and use friendly facial expressions.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Never say “I don’t know,” instead say, “Let me find out for you.” Saying this shows the customer that you care about figuring out a better way to assist them.
Nordstrom is a prime example to follow when training your employees on excellent customer service because Nordstrom is one of the top brands with the best customer service. In fact, there’s even a book titled “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence” that explains how and why their customer service is so excellent. These employees are trained to use their best judgment and basically to go above and beyond to make the customer’s experience as positive as possible.
Inform Employees About Business and Other Policies
Educating your employees about all policies surrounding returns, exchanges, promotions, and gift cards, just to name a few, minimizes the chances of mix-ups and inconsistencies with customers.
If employees are clueless about the store’s policies, it leaves more room for criticism and frustration on the customer’s end. Training employees to ask every customer if they are familiar with their return policies eliminates issues surrounding inconsistent policy enforcement. For example, let’s say a store’s return policy is a full refund of the original payment method within 30 days of the purchase. After 30 days, the business issues store credit for any return and does not refund the original payment method. If employees are not aware of this policy, it’s going to cause problems down the road and lead to unhappy customers.
Along with being familiar with store policies, educate employees on the fundamentals of your retail business as a whole. Staff should be able to answer frequently asked questions, so understanding the business will make it easier for them to answer a broader range of questions.
Encourage Employees to Stay Visible and Available
One of the most annoying things customers can deal with when going shopping is not being able to find an available employee when they need help. Make sure your staff is visible and readily available to help patrons, but don’t let them don’t cross into hoovering territory. Hoovering can be just as bad as not being able to track down an employee. Find the right balance between being too attentive and aloof.
It’s equally important for employees to be able to read body language so that they can recognize when a customer looks frustrated and needs assistance. If employees are lingering behind the counter looking at their cell phone, it makes it more difficult for them to notice a customer’s frustration cues.
Avoid Personal Conversations When Customers are Present
When employees look at their cell phone and have conversations about their personal lives in front of customers, it’s rude. It gives the impression of not caring about the customers who are standing right in front of them. Although engaging in small talk is acceptable, it’s a different story if it’s a conversation that really shouldn’t be happening in front of customers.
Some of the worst conversations employees can have with each other in a store filled with shoppers is complaining about other customers, staff members, or their personal affairs. This type of conversation is highly unprofessional and completely unnecessary. If there’s an individual issue that needs addressing, it’s best to involve management and do so out of earshot from customers.
Additionally, conversations with customers should be brief, yet sincere, which can be tricky for two reasons. Some customers will want to talk to anybody who will listen for as long as they’ll listen, and we all know you don’t have time for that. Secondly, you don’t want to come off as callous by cutting right to the chase. Try to find a balance by politely redirecting the conversation to find out how you can assist them.
Prepare Employees for any Situation
Dealing with angry customers is every retail employee’s worst nightmare come true — and it will come true. Therefore, employees must know how to neutralize bad situations that may arise effectively. Not only should employees recognize the beginning stages of a bad situation, but they should also learn how to solve the problems correctly. Keeping your employees motivated when things go awry is the best way to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible in a sticky situation.
Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey
As a retail business owner, your main focus is your customers. So knowing what they think of your business is the purest form of feedback you can get. Now and then, it’s essential to take a customer satisfaction survey to keep your finger on the pulse of your business. It also lets customers feel heard and that their opinions matter to you.
As a retail business owner, your main focus is your customers. So knowing what they think of your business is the purest form of feedback you can get. Now and then, it’s essential to take a customer satisfaction survey to keep your finger on the pulse of your business. It also lets customers feel heard and that their opinions matter to you. You can use their suggestions to make improvements to store policies, employee training, and even the products you sell.
Invest in Technology to Create a Better Customer Experience
By now, it’s evident that excellent customer service is a necessity for a small to mid-sized retail business to thrive. Investing in the right technology for your business helps create a seamless experience for your customers. Whether it’s buying a POS system or merely taking advantage of other online customer service platforms, you’ll save yourself a lot of time by making these upgrades.
Investing in a retail POS system helps business owners manage numerous aspects of their retail business. It allows merchants to process transactions at the point of purchase and also provides so many other features that help you manage your business, customers, and employees.
- Customer engagement: Your POS system can track purchase histories to send target deals to customers, and helps you establish a loyalty program.
- Employee management: Better scheduling systems reduces stress on you and your employees.
- Sales reporting analytics: Pinpoints your store’s most valuable customers to increase their loyalty.
Customer Service Platforms
As a business owner, you’re always going to want to ensure your customers are happy. Consequently, there are a bunch of different types of customer service platforms that are widely available for business owners to take advantage of to increase customer service satisfaction. Using some of these examples of platforms is bound to help you build a more successful business:
- Survey Monkey
- Retail training courses
- Niche-specific hiring platforms
Distributing surveys to your customers through services such as Survey Monkey allows you to monitor customer satisfaction. By asking your customers to share their opinions about your store, you can make more informed decisions on making the right changes for your business and increase the number of loyal customers coming back to your store.
Retail training platforms offer classes and other creative ways to help business owners and managers diligently train their staff. Not only do these platforms provide the actual courses, but they also offer ways to measure how your employees are performing in the sessions.
Utilizing online hiring platforms increases your job ad exposure and allows you to reach more experienced candidates for the position.
The Bottom Line
Exceptional hospitality and customer service is always appreciated and hardly ever overlooked. Customer service can make or break the overall experience of a shopper, so if that means putting a strong emphasis on customer service training for your employees, then so be it. Are you ready to implement these retail customer service tips in your store?